Scott Pruett currently leads the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series with four wins in the season’s first six races in his #01 Telmex Lexus. He’ll be racing in this weekend’s EMCO Gears Classic Rolex Series race at Mid-Ohio, as well as the Toyota/Savemart 300 Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma, Calif. in the #41 Target car for Chip Ganassi Racing. Each day, he’ll provide a diary of his attempt to run two races across three time zones.
Thursday, June 19
I’m real excited about getting the opportunity to run both races this weekend. The priority within the team was can we balance this without taking anything away from our chances for a championship in Grand-Am? We had an hour-long conference call early in the week and we all decided we could do that. In looking at the schedule and the track time available, we all agreed that it was possible to run at a high level in both races.
If we thought this would take anything away from our Grand-Am program, we wouldn’t have done it. We’re working too hard on the Grand-Am side to let up this weekend. Lexus has really stepped up with a great engine, Telmex has raised their commitment and the whole team has just worked extremely hard and we’re having a dream season so far.
After the decision was made, it’s been non-stop working on all the logistics and it’s no easy feat. Just taking care of credentials, tickets, accommodations at both tracks, etc., is a major task.
Personally, though, I’m looking forward to it. I’ve spent a lot of time at both tracks. Growing up in northern California, Sonoma has always been my hometrack - , and I’d guess I’ve spent as much time as anybody at Mid-Ohio through my four years with Truesports in Indy cars.
Today, we buttoned things up at home and went by the track. The car was already prepped and in the truck by the time the decision was made that I was going to drive here, so now I’m getting ready to go back by the track and take care of all the specifics in terms of steering wheel and seat. Then I’ll meet with the guys, talk about our different options and different set-ups. I’m pretty particular in terms of what type of set-up I like, so we’ll decide which direction we want to pursue.
We have two distinct approaches we’re going to take this weekend. In Grand-Am, our goal every weekend is to finish on the podium in every race. If we can get our Telmex Lexus to winner’s circle – great, but if not, we want second or third.
On the other hand, on the NASCAR-side, there’s one goal in mind and that’s to get as many points as possible for the #41 Target car. Just run hard and run smart, no crazy chances. A top-10 would be good, a top-five would be great, but we will just focus on getting the most points we can. That’s different than usual. In the past, Chip’s usually run an extra car for me at Sonoma where our goal was to take chances and try to win races.
As far as my travels, I’ll be here in Napa tonight, practice and qualify the Cup car tomorrow and then leave right after I qualify. We know we have a starting spot, so we’ll just concentrate on getting the best balance for the race on Sunday. Basically, it will be 90 percent on race, 10 percent on qualifying and at the end of practice, we’ll give it a run on new tires and get ready to go qualify it.
Our biggest challenge might be tomorrow after qualifying. As soon as I’m done, I’ll go straight to the airport. I hope to be at the airport by 7:30 p.m. and in the best case be in Mansfield at 3 a.m. Then, I’ll run the car in the final practices. We actually have two practices on Saturday with an hour and 40 minutes available, so we’ll have plenty of track time on Saturday to work with my teammate Memo Rojas and find a set-up we can win with.
After the race, it’s back to the Mansfield airport and head right back to Sonoma. It will likely be around 10 p.m. before we get out and by the time we arrive back into Napa, it will likely be around one in the morning in California.
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